For a while there were concerns about soy being linked as a cause of breast cancer. Those rumors have been put to rest and found to be invalid. Now, however, research is showing that soy is not only safe, but it may help protect against particular types of cancer.
The Soy Debates
One of the great things about soy is that it’s one of the very few plant-based foods that provides protein. It also contains a wealth of amino acids that contribute to supporting a body’s vital functions. The confusion with soy’s safety emerged because it is also found to contain phytoestrogens.
Isoflavones (a group of phytoestrogens) are similar to estrogen—but not the same. Breast cancer has been linked to high estrogen levels. The significant truth is that plant-based estrogen is not the same as human. Soy isn’t a hormonal food.
Estrogens, the types that encourage cell growth, are only found in animals.
New Research on Protection
In the March 2017 edition of the journal Cancer, the results of a 10-year study on soy and breast cancer survivors were reported. The study involved over 6,200 participants. The women who ate the most soy products over the course of the research had a 21% lower risk of death—from all causes.
Other current, relevant studies have also shown that soy is safe for breast cancer survivors. It’s also been revealed that soy can actually protect breast health and heart health in females who ate it during puberty. That very same phytoestrogen ingredient actually blocks the negative action of animal or human estrogen.
In some Asian countries, low rates of breast and prostate cancer may be due to a diet that welcomes phytoestrogens and soy.
What Soy Can Positively Do
As mentioned, this plant-based food provides protein, amino acids, and a wealth of other nutrients. Some are: potassium, manganese, magnesium, and vitamin K. Most importantly, it is full of fiber. This is extremely important for healthy and proper digestion.
Nutritionists recommend moderate amounts, which would be approximately three servings daily. This may include a bowl of miso soup, some edamame, and a glass of soy milk. Tofu is also a common soy-based food.
Soy also contains:
- Saponins, which are compounds that may lower cholesterol and protect against cancer
- Phytic acid, which acts as an antioxidant
- Sphingolipids, which help regulate cell growth and deter abnormal cells from replicating
Overall Healthy Diet
One the largest problems in the U.S. is the amount of processed and genetically modified foods (GMOs) we consume. A diet that includes these types of foods is not a real healthy one. Whole foods and organic are recommended for clean eating. This pertains to soy as well.
In this country, 92% of the soybeans grown here are genetically modified. That’s a staggering figure. So, again, try and check out whole and organic sources. Additionally, beware of the ingredient “isolated soy protein”, which basically means only the protein is extracted from the food and all the other nutrients are tossed aside. Isolated soy protein is listed on many snack, workout, or energy bars and shakes.
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